Deloitte: Spain’s Logistics Sector is Hot Property Thanks to the ‘Amazon Effect’

18 May 2018 – Expansión

Investment funds want to take advantage of the collateral effects that the boom in e-commerce is going to have in the real estate market by taking positions in a segment with great potential, namely: the storage of goods and products. The logistics segment has become the “golden girl” of the real estate sector and one of the favourites of investors boosted by strong yields and the expectations of business growth. In this context, Asian investors have placed their focus on the European logistics market.

According to the Logistics Property Handbook compiled by Deloitte, last year, investment in logistics assets in Europe recorded a milestone with €42.5 billion of assets transacted, thanks to mega-operations such as the purchase by China Investment Corporation (CIC) from Blackstone of the Pan-European platform Logicor for €12.2 billion, and the acquisition of the European platform Gazeley by Global Logistic Properties (GLP), headquartered in Singapore, for €2.4 billion.

Mega-operations

In Spain alone, investment in logistics assets amounted to €1.63 billion, which represented a 75% increase compared to the previous year, and a historical record, due to significant transactions involving logistics portfolios. CIC’s purchase of Logicor implied a transaction volume of €652 million in Spain. Meanwhile, P3 Logistic Park – owned by the Singapore sovereign fund, GIC – purchased 11 assets from Green Oak in Spain for €243 million. Those operations boosted investment to historic levels.

Moreover, last year, Mango sold its logistics centre in Palau-Solità I Plegamans (Barcelona) to the fund manager Invesco for €100 million. That transaction was the largest involving a single asset in Spain and the fourth-largest in Europe.

According to the forecasts in the report, operations in the pipeline, which may be closed this year, already amount to €980 million.

“The large institutional funds that aspire to lead the logistics sector in Europe and around the world are bidding hard to accumulate the largest logistics surface area possible during this economic cycle. The location and size of their international logistics platforms are the two key variables for exercising greater negotiation power and whereby obtain the highest rents from operators”, explains Javier García-Matro, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte.

Despite the record investment figure recorded last year, the volume of assets transacted in Spain represents just 4% of the total European market. “This fact is proof of the growth potential of these types of assets in our country. In 2017 alone, 865,000 m2 of logistics space was handed over in Madrid, Cataluña and Valencia. The strong demand of the current cycle is causing logistics promoters to develop more than 2 million m2 of land in these markets, in both turnkey and speculative projects”, says García-Mateo.

One of the major players in the sector is the Socimi Merlin, which has placed logistics asset at the centre of its growth strategy. Merlin’s expansion plan involves the development of land and turnkey construction, a roadmap that has allowed it to become one of the leaders in the sector in just four years.

The main players

Merlin has 2 million m2 of logistics land, both in portfolio and under management, and its plans involve increasing that volume to 3 million m2 before the end of the economic cycle. Specifically, it plans to spend around €250 million on logistics development over the next four years.

Another important player is Logicor, the Pan-European platform, which has been controlled by the Chinese group GIC since last year and which owns 1.2 million m2. Meanwhile, the alliance formed by the real estate manager CBRE GI and its local partner Montepino is going to develop a portfolio of prime assets in the main geographic areas of Spain with a planned investment of around €300 million.

They are joined by the European giants Prologic and the platform P3 Logistic Parks, which own 900,000 m2 and 400,000 m2, respectively, as well as the European investment group VGP, which owns almost 400,000 m2 of logistics space in Spain.

In terms of the types of assets, the Amazon effect has revolutionised the industrial sector and forced logistics operators to reinvent themselves to adapt to the new needs of clients (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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